An Ode to Film

In 1998, the company bought me a film scanner, and the computer to go with it. Within a few weeks of tweaking and adjusting, I was scanning everything. That left two 500-sheet boxes of Kodak Ektamatic SC black-and-white, single-weight paper sitting on the shelves in my office. For a while I kept them, just in case I needed them, but by the following summer, I realized I would never use them, and decided to conjure some kind of fine art project I could shoot and print on this abandoned black-and-white paper. Since I have always been drawn to the high desert, I decided to go on a driving tour of New Mexico. That tour, in July of 1999, yielded less than I had hoped, since I am, by profession, a news and sports shooter, with little experience at the time shooting fine art in the desert. I might have made 15 passable images, but it served to inspire me to return and shoot black-and-white again in September 2000. My film was usually Panatomic-X for 35mm, and Verichrome Pan Film for medium format. Occasionally I would play around with Technical Pan Film or High Speed Infrared, or even more rarely, Ilford and Agfa films.

I have boxes and boxes of black-and-white prints spanning a couple of decades. When I get them out, I am reminded of the pleasure black-and-white shooting provided me, and of how much my photography owes this heritage.

Approaching thunderstorm, Puyé Cliff Dwellings, New Mexico, July 1999
Approaching thunderstorm, Puyé Cliff Dwellings, New Mexico, July 1999

1 Comment

  1. The image you’ve shared here makes it clear why B&W film is so far superior to digital. The details in the textures are what stand out to me as well as the fact that the blacks are really black. Those of us with film as our foundation will always long for this kind of look and texture; it’s different and to me far superior.

Comments are closed.